Occupy Central

Police let Occupy organisers walk away without charge after they turn themselves in

Movement's fathers and an assortment of supporters are not charged or arrested after turning themselves in at a police station

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 December, 2014, 11:17am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 5:53pm

The three co-founders of Occupy Central and more than 60 of their supporters were not arrested or charged yesterday after they turned themselves in for taking part in unauthorised assemblies since late September.

The trio - Benny Tai Yiu-ting, the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Dr Chan Kin-man - arrived at the Central Police Station in Sheung Wan with a letter they signed, admitting they had taken part in a rally from September 28 and might have broken laws under the Public Order Ordinance.

Watch: Hong Kong Occupy Central co-founders released without charge after surrendering to police

Through the surrender, the trio aimed to bring a peaceful end to the civil disobedience movement they initiated.

Tai said that during their one-hour stay at the station, police questioned them with a "specially designed" form that listed offences including participating, organising or inciting people to participate in an unauthorised assembly, vandalism and obstructing a policeman's duty.

They were also asked to specify the locations of the alleged offences, such as Harcourt Road or the government's headquarters.

Tai said they admitted only to taking part in an unauthorised assembly.

Accompanying the trio were Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, 14 Democratic Party members including lawmaker Wu Chi-wai and former legislators Cheung Man-kwong, and dozens of other Occupy supporters.

Those people also signed a similar letter setting out their personal details and participation in Occupy. Both letters were handed to the police, who took no further action. Police said that by 7pm, 65 people had surrendered.

About 40 anti-Occupy activists gathered outside the venue to hurl insults at them.

Wu was the only lawmaker who surrendered yesterday. Several prominent Occupy supporters - including Edward Chin Chi-kin, founder of the movement's banking group, and Next Media chairman Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, showed up to lend their support but did not turn themselves in, citing timing issues.

Tai said their action marked an end to the civil disobedience they advocated, but that the democratic movement would continue. "I come with peace and hope, as I know there is a bright future for the city's democracy as long as we persevere."

READ MORE: To view all the latest Occupy Central stories click here

In a sharp contrast to Tai's verdict, Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei said the Occupy protests would give Hongkongers "a better idea" of the right direction the city's democracy should move towards.

"They should know what is conducive to Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability following the recent developments," Li, a top official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, said. "Hong Kong residents will treasure more the Basic Law and the democratic rights enshrined [within]."

Meanwhile, deputy foreign minister Zhang Yesui said, without referring to ongoing clearance efforts at Occupy sites, that Beijing would support Hong Kong government fully to maintain social stability.

"On the road of development, it is inevitable that Hong Kong would run into various kinds of difficulties and challenges," he said in Hong Kong last night. "In no circumstances should [anyone] destroy Hong Kong's rule of law and social order."

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung reiterated that Occupy "has severely disrupted order in Hong Kong". Deputy director of public prosecutions David Leung Cheuk-yin was tasked with handling Tai's surrender "to avoid any possible perception of bias", because Yuen and chief prosecutor Keith Yeung Ka-hung were classmates with Tai at the University of Hong Kong's law school, the Department of Justice said.

The police said they would handle every case in a fair and impartial manner.